Monday, January 10, 2011

The Troubadour 1962 - 1976

Doug Weston's Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA

The Troubadour is a musical landmark. It is truly one of the most legendary clubs in Los Angeles, if not the nation.

In 1957 Doug Weston opened a small coffee house located 364 N. La Cienega Boulevard. It was located next door to the Coronet Theater. It was originally called the Troubadour Cafe-Theatre. The small club primarily presented literary readings and small theater.

In 1961, the small 65 seat playhouse/club/coffee house outgrew it's space and relocated to
9083 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood - just east of Doheny Drive.
Initially it continued to present plays.


The new Troubadour Cafe-Theatre had 350 seats and a stage larger than the Whisky A Go Go.

The Troubadour soon became a country and folk music showcase. It would occasionally present blues bands and stand-up comedians.
Doug Weston insisted that performers sign a contract that required them to play several consecutive nights. This usually resulted in a one, two or three week commitment from performers. New acts often had to commit to return to the club for another run of shows if asked.

The roster of performers who played the Troubadour between 1962 and 1976 include:

The Smothers Brothers
Christy Minstrels
Jimmy Rodgers
*Hoyt Axton (Greenback Dollar guy)
Josh White
The Journey Men
* Hoyt Axton had a hit with song Green Back Dollar. He would become a regular Troubadour performer over the years.
Hoyt Axton (a frequent Troubadour performer)
Modern Folk Quartet
The Men
Glenn Yarborough of the Limeliters
In 1964, excellent Dana Tana's restaurant opened next door to the Troubadour (9071 Santa Monica Boulevard).
2008 photo: tlc
The Dillards
Judy Henske
Rod McKuen
The Association (the 1st rock n' roll oriented band to play at the Troubadour)
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Judy Collins
Smothers Brothers
Joe and Eddie
Muddy Waters
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
John Denver
Hoyt Axton
Chad Mitchell
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Sunshine Company
Canned Heat
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Hoyt Axton
Arlo Guthrie
Judy Guthrie
Richie Havens
Glenn Yarborough
Joni Mitchell
Judy Collins
Rod McKuen
Gordon Lightfoot
Sunshine Company
Pat Paulsen
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Richard Pryor
Neil Young
Rick Nelson
Bobby Darin
Joni Mitchell
Laura Nyro
Brewer and Shipley
Steve Martin
Mason Williams
James Taylor
Linda Ronstadt
Jackson Brown
Neil Diamond
Country Joe and the Fish
Tiny Tim
Flying Burrito Brothers
Randy Newman
Paul Butterfield
Van Morrison
Linda Rondstadt
John Hartford
Glen Campbell
Tiny Tim
*Elton John
Rick Nelson
Bill Medley
John Philips
Gordon Lightfoot
John Denver
Kris Kristofferson
James Taylor
Waylon Jennings
Cat Stevens
*Elton John made his USA debut at the Troubadour in 1970. He returned here in 1979 for 10 sold out shows.
Tim Harden
Don McLean
Seals and Crofts
Cat Stevens
Carly Simon
Kris Kristofferson
Hoyt Axton
Janis Ian
Johnny Rivers
John Denver
Randy Newman
Billy Preston
John Prine
Helen Reddy
Cheech and Chong
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Rita Coolidge
Don McLean
Jackson Browne
Bobby Goldsboro
Glen Campbell
Billy Preston
Canned Heat
Captain Beefheart
Hoyt Axton
Paul Butterfield
Van Morrison
Jim Croce
Bonnie Raitt
Anne Murray
Dr Hook
Elton John
1973 was a tough year for the Troubadour.

The new Roxy Theater opened up at 9007 Sunset Boulevard.
The Roxy was large and plush. It offered performers a more flexible booking policy. It had strong record industry connections and support.
In 1973, the economy was in a slump. Record companies had to cut cost. They no longer put money up front for bands to play small clubs. The record industry and promoters focused on more established performers that could fill large arenas.
There was the emergence of the Rock Super Stars (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull and the Who). It was much more lucrative for promoters to staged large rock spectacles.

Doug Weston found it increasingly difficult to secure top level talent without record label support.

The Troubadour had an large overhead (50 regular employees).
Also, the Troubadour was having problems with the fire department. The club had to cutback it's seating capacity from 350 to 300.

There were disagreements with record companies over financial support of acts and advertising policies. Several times Weston closed the club for restructuring.
The days of the six night a week shows were over. There was a chance the club could operated on a short week similar to the Roxy.
1979 photo: Dean Musgrove/Herald-Examiner Collection

Hoyt Axton
Rick Springfield
Harry Chapin
Leo Sayer
Etta James
Dan Hicks
Bill Withers
Kenny Rankin
Jimmy Buffett
Roger McGuinn
Neil Sedaka
Miles Davis
Commander Cody
Berry Manilow
Melissa Manchester
Spanky and Our Gang
Herbie Hancock
Elton John returns for benefit concert
Roger Miller
Tom Wait
Steve Miller
J.D. Souther
Country Joe McDonald
The Staple Singers
Al Jarreau
Leslie Gore

Over the years the conditions of the club deteriorated. The dressing rooms were cramped.
In the late '70's and '80's it started to showcased the more popular new wave and heavy metal bands.

Doug Weston was suffering from failing health and asked his friend and partner Eddie Karayan to take over running the venue.

Doug Weston died in 1998. Karayan continues to operated the club.


Anonymous said...

I have been looking for the dates of some concerts I had attended at the Troubadour in the early 1970’s and I came across this at Jimmy Messina’s Concert Chronology

Kenny Logins and Jimmy Messina at the Troubadour in 1972
February 10-13, 1972 L&M were a last-minute addition to the bill when Donny Hathaway canceled.
February 24-27, 1972 Richie Furay sits in with L&M during one set during this stand.

Kenny Logins and Jimmy Messina at the Troubadour in 1973
January 23-28, 1973 Albert Hammond opened for L&M.

Still looking for:
•The two dates I saw Harry Chapin.
•The date I saw Ian Anderson.

Deb said...

I know Harry was there between Jan and May of 1972, my husband was working there I was very Pregnant and Harry asked me to name my child Harry. She was born in May, needless to say she was not named Harry!!

Anonymous said...

I played a week of concerts there in 1969 with Tim Buckley, so you might add him to your list.

Art Tripp